Sometimes, there are ways to be a bit stealth on the street, and long on the scene

What the heck do we mean by that?
We’ll put 20 secs. on the clock and see what you come up with.
OK, actually what it means is that there are times that you can be all good, press credentials in order, cameras tagged officially, but you may want to go in a little quieter. Make less visual noise, if you know whet we mean.
While in Austin for SXSW, we tried that more than twice.

With the Nikon D7000 and a rocking 28-300mm lens (yep, you read that right) which fit crazily in an inside pocket of ours, we set out to cover the Bangles.
They were playing in fairly small club, and the line to get in was ridonkulous, but we got in with credentials and a low profile.
Oh, it was tight to be sure. Unbeknown to us, people had already seen 4 bands, and had their spots.
You know those spots: the ones they do not want to let a photographer into? Tighter than a drum.
But we were determined to get not just a shot, but a tight shot.
Once in the club the camera came out from the inside jacket pocket, and the scoping for position began.
And perfect-it was going to be low light as well! Yay!
Sure, there were some DB shooters with the long white lenses starting to jam in and tick off everyone.
Yes, I did shoot some “hail marys”, just to make sure I had something.( “hail mary” defined as holding your camera above your head with focus and exposure pre-set. Using the LCD screen you compose as best you can, and shoot continuous for a short burst)
Like this:

Susanna Hoffs © Damon Webster Nikon D7000, f/5.6, 1/200, 36MM

You can see some of the obstructions in the way. (heads)

Soon enough, the spot opened up. It was between a couples heads as the either rocked to the music or spoke to one another
With the lens extended fully to 300mm, I was able to lose the rest of the situation and get in to a nice tight portrait, which as you can see from some other photos, I’m a fan of.

Susanna Hoffs © Damon Webster Nikon D7000, f/5.6, 1/200, 300MM

The Live view on the camera, was an easy to manage one button operation, which helped me with the overhead shots.
The sweet low-light processor rivaled the D700, and when I returned to the hotel at 2:00 AM, doing some initial post processing was fairly easy, especially since a little noise reduction is what we needed, plus a little saturation reduction. Those stage lighting folks love their gels. And even with VR, 1/200 at f5.6 is about as low as I’ll go with a long lens like this.

Always shoot manual. always shoot RAW, especially in situations like this. The D7000 felt great in the hands, and the lens got a shot that would have been a miserable task to achieve otherwise.
Sure, it’s a slower than the regular, about f/5.6 min at the long end. But the contrast and sharpness was incredible, and the combo with the sensor/processor worked like crazy.

There is a lens lock on the barrel so the glass doesn’t seep down while hanging by your side. The nature of the beast however.
To go back to the beginning of this post: it fit in my jacket pocket. yes , it’s a big Patagonia jacket, BUT still.

I ended up taking it around the festival and catching fast portraits separating faces from the crowds.

Looking forward to a little more time with this pup.
And we’ll be doing some video too- 1080p at 24fps.

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